The Gift of a Year
September 4, 2009
The phone jangled just as I was shutting down my computer. It was my sister, fresh off her summer beach vacation. She was brimming with ideas and excitment.
“You’ve got to read this book: The Gift of a Year: How to Achieve the Most Meaningful, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Year of Your Life by Mira Kirschenbaum. It’s changed my life!!” She proceeded to tell me how the book lays out a year-long plan to do what you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts/time/energy/money to do it. With compelling case studies of people who took time off for a year to travel, paint or pursue other passions, I got excited for my sister who decided to travel more. In fact, we made plans for our pending trip to Barcelona week after next right then and there.
So when I received a copy of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home by Susan Pohlman, I was enthralled by her story. She took her husband and two kids to explore life in Italy for a year. The author, who was on the brink of divorce from her then radio producer husband, decided to give her married life another chance by moving her entire existence to the outskirts of Genoa. I fell in love with Susan the moment I cracked the book’s spine. Her strength (and admitted weaknesses) make you want to call her up for a cup of cappuccino and a chat.
Susan and her family indeed gave themselves a gift of a year and by the end of it, and the book itself, the reader is richer for their experiences and for the opportunity to explore his or her own chance at renewal by shaking things up just a little bit.
You needn’t move to a foreign country to make a difference in your life.
The power of slow dictates that we periodically reevaluate how we are spending our personal bank account of time. For the two authors above it is clear they dedicated some of theirs to a worthwhile cause of self-discovery and joy. We readers are all the richer for their efforts.